Brittany’s Suite Life on Deck
Semester at Sea, Worldwide
On the PA system, “Good morning shipmates! Here is your daily bridge news report. Sea swells today are seven feet, wind speeds at 23 knots, and the temperature...” is my alarm clock on the only floating campus in the world, known as the MV World Odyssey. My name is Brittany Luna and I am a Chemistry: Health Sciences Major at UH Hilo. During Spring 2016, I was lucky enough to attend Semester At Sea, a study abroad program, where you can earn academic credit while circumnavigating the world. The world is our classroom and the people are our teachers. From four consecutive days of classes to a week spent in over ten different countries to explore, the learning never stops. Since I embarked on this ship in San Diego, California, I’ve meditated with Zen monks in Japan, hiked the Great Wall of China, crawled through the Cu Chi tunnels of Vietnam where soldiers built an underground city during the Vietnam War, stared in awe of Taj Mahal’s beauty and history in India, rode elephants through the jungles of Myanmar, rode a camel through the Sahara Dessrt, and cage dived with Great White Sharks in South Africa. It’s not possible to pick a favorite or most memorable moment when studying on Semester At Sea, because everyday is a new adventure.
Putting aside all of my experiences in-country, sailing on the ship with the shipboard community was the best part of my voyage. Semester At Sea made it easy for creating international friendships. With all of us originating from over 30 different countries, I was able to make connections with people from almost every state in the United States, France, China, Germany, Swaziland, Nigeria, Netherlands, and so on. On this ship, I’ve never once felt like there was nothing to do even though we had no access to internet. We had movie nights (one time we all watched Titanic together), multiple talent shows/open mics, occasional pub nights, olympic competitions against each other, and traditions such as shaving our entire head in honor of King Neptune to let us pass through the equator safely. If you have the chance, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you don’t want to miss!